Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Kayvan Najarian


Knowledge of the microcirculatory system has added significant value to the analysis of tissue oxygenation and perfusion. While developments in videomicroscopy technology have enabled medical researchers and physicians to observe the microvascular system, the available software tools are limited in their capabilities to determine quantitative features of microcirculation, either automatically or accurately. In particular, microvessel density has been a critical diagnostic measure in evaluating disease progression and a prognostic indicator in various clinical conditions. As a result, automated analysis of the microcirculatory system can be substantially beneficial in various real-time and off-line therapeutic medical applications, such as optimization of resuscitation. This study focuses on the development of an algorithm to automatically segment microvessels, calculate the density of capillaries in microcirculatory videos, and determine the distribution of blood circulation. The proposed technique is divided into four major steps: video stabilization, video enhancement, segmentation and post-processing. The stabilization step estimates motion and corrects for the motion artifacts using an appropriate motion model. Video enhancement improves the visual quality of video frames through preprocessing, vessel enhancement and edge enhancement. The resulting frames are combined through an adjusted weighted median filter and the resulting frame is then thresholded using an entropic thresholding technique. Finally, a region growing technique is utilized to correct for the discontinuity of blood vessels. Using the final binary results, the most commonly used measure for the assessment of microcirculation, i.e. Functional Capillary Density (FCD), is calculated. The designed technique is applied to video recordings of healthy and diseased human and animal samples obtained by MicroScan device based on Sidestream Dark Field (SDF) imaging modality. To validate the final results, the calculated FCD results are compared with the results obtained by blind detailed inspection of three medical experts, who have used AVA (Automated Vascular Analysis) semi-automated microcirculation analysis software. Since there is neither a fully automated accurate microcirculation analysis program, nor a publicly available annotated database of microcirculation videos, the results acquired by the experts are considered the gold standard. Bland-Altman plots show that there is ``Good Agreement" between the results of the algorithm and that of gold standard. In summary, the main objective of this study is to eliminate the need for human interaction to edit/ correct results, to improve the accuracy of stabilization and segmentation, and to reduce the overall computation time. The proposed methodology impacts the field of computer science through development of image processing techniques to discover the knowledge in grayscale video frames. The broad impact of this work is to assist physicians, medical researchers and caregivers in making diagnostic and therapeutic decisions for microcirculatory abnormalities and in studying of the human microcirculation.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011